He’s not calling it a retirement, because it isn’t, but legendary Wilcox coach David Currie is stepping down as Head Coach of the baseball program. Currie’s current plan is to continue on as an assistant coach, a role which he held previously with the Chargers in addition to his 18 years as the head honcho.
A native of Vallejo, Currie went to Santa Clara University on a baseball scholarship. After graduating in 1990, he earned his teaching credential up in Sacramento and coached junior college ball at Cosumnes River College before being hired as a PE teacher and head baseball coach at Wilcox in 1993.
In just his second year with Wilcox, Currie would lead a streak of 10-straight De Anza League titles from 1995-2004. The first CCS title for Wilcox under Currie would come in the year 2000. Unfortunately, shortly after the euphoria of winning that title, Currie received one of the worst phone calls one can ever receive.
He had cancer.
“Not more than two weeks after we won that, I get a phone call saying my thyroid was malignant, I had cancer in my thyroid,” said Currie. “Things just got worse from there, I learned that it spread to my lungs. It was scary, things were looking pretty bleak at the time.”
Despite initially given 50-50 odds, and then seeing those odds drop, Currie’s health eventually improved, and he was cancer free come 2002. Remarkably, he didn’t take any time off from coaching.
“Being out on the field helped take mind off it, even though I obviously thought about it every day,” said Currie. “I didn’t take time off. My treatments were in the summer after baseball season. Coaching baseball — and really just the community at Wilcox, the teachers, the students — really helped me get through a really dark time to tell you the truth. Being on the field was therapy for me.”
A few years later Currie would step down as head coach for the first time. With his son Jacob starting to get into Little League, Currie decided he wanted to coach his son through his years at Homestead Little League. Taking over in his place would be Paul Rosa, who played for Currie for his last two years at Wilcox and then coached with him as an assistant. Currie and Rosa would simply switch places, with Currie becoming an assistant coach.
“I wanted to devote more time to coaching little league. So, it was a perfect time to step back,” said Currie. “And I knew Rosa wanted to be a head coach again, he had left to be head coach at Oak Grove for a year and I was more than happy to give that up to a quality person like him.”
The admiration is certainly mutual.
“He’s been a big influence on the whole sports program getting better. He hired good quality coaches when he was the AD for years,” praised Rosa on Currie, a man whom he calls both a mentor and friend. “In all my coaching stuff that I even do with football, the philosophy between hiring coaches, team building, just how to run a program, I got from him. I don’t think I would be near the coach I am now without having coached under somebody like him for years.”
The two coaches would work together to continue a strong baseball program, with Rosa as head coach through 2014. At that point is when Rosa would first take over the head coaching gig for the football program. Given the time constraints and dedication needed, Rosa and Currie figured it would be best for Currie to step back into the head job for baseball. So, the dynamic duo switched spots again in the baseball coaching hierarchy. From 2015 through 2019, Currie would add five additional seasons to his head coaching resume.
“I put in a good five more years, but I knew it was about time to step down,” noted Currie on the timing of ending his run as the head coach. “I don’t have the energy or drive that I used to when I was younger. Where the program is now, the heights that it has reached, for the current kids to get the best coaching, I think [they need] a younger coach who is a little bit more driven than what I have been the last couple years.”
Another one of Currie’s proteges has observed that his former coach has mellowed out a bit since his younger days. Pedro Martinez, who played under Currie in 2004 and 2005, joked that he was surprised to run into him at Disneyland during spring break this past year.
“When I was playing for Wilcox, we practiced every single day, and then last year I ran into him at Disneyland and I was like, ‘what are you doing here, don’t you have practice?’” chuckled Martinez. “And he was like ‘no, we gave the kids a couple days off.’”
Martinez, who now coaches baseball at Santa Clara High School, had nothing but high praise and appreciation for his former coach and teaching mentor.
“He helped me get started coaching at Santa Clara, he was my master teacher for my student teaching, and he’s written me multiple letters of recommendation. He’s really taken me under his wing,” said Martinez. “A lot of my coaching philosophy comes from playing under him.
“One of the main things I’ve taken from him is being honest with the guys, letting them know where they stand,” continued Martinez. “As a player I liked that, you like to know. I think a lot of coaches nowadays don’t tell their players that and it causes discord. Currie would tell us at tryouts where we stood. He didn’t really cut anybody. If you didn’t like what your role was going to be you could quit.”
With Currie stepping down, Matthew Huth will be taking over as the head coach.
“I think Matthew is a great choice for the program moving forward,” said Currie on his successor. “He’s a young PE teacher we have on campus. I originally hired him as our assistant and to be the JV head coach. I think he’s a perfect fit, we work well together. Next year I’m gonna help the transition as an assistant.”
While Currie isn’t yet riding off into the sunset just yet, the final totals of his head coaching career are incredibly impressive. In 18 seasons as Head Coach, Currie led the Chargers to 11 league titles and three CCS Championships in Division I, which back then was the toughest division in the CCS playoffs.
“When you put so much work into things, you like to see the results, and fortunately winning came along a lot for us,” admitted Currie. “But I put too much pressure on myself as the head coach. I love the assistant job. It’s a bit more relaxed as the assistant coach.”
In addition to his head coaching totals, Currie helped coach two more CCS winners and four more De Anza League Titles as an assistant. In 27 total seasons coaching, that’s 15 League Titles and five CCS Championships.
It’s hard to ask for much more success than that. Some relaxation time is well deserved. Congrats on a helluva run, coach.